Celebrating eight years of Refugees Welcome in Richmond

Thanks very much to everyone who joined us to celebrate eight years of Refugees Welcome in Richmond (RWinR) at The Vineyard Community Centre on Thursday 9 November.

We were treated to an evening of speeches, starting with our chair, Valerie Booth, who gave an overview of our work to date. From founding the group in response to the Syrian crisis in 2015, through to the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we have welcomed hundreds of refugees to the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Councillor Nancy Baldwin praised our achievements and looked forward to further collaboration thanks to our charitable status.

Following our recent partnership with the Learning Team at Turner’s House in Twickenham, Saša Marnikov spoke about the inspiring artworks produced by local refugee and migrant women, some of which we had on display at The Vineyard. Kolthom Al Abood offered her own perspective on the project as an artist and a member of the first families to arrive in Richmond from Syria.

Finally, we relished the live music of Ukrainian singer Yevheniia Shymshyrian, Matvii Smirnov on guitar and Maryna Raievska on violin. They performed dedications to their home country and the great city of Kyiv, as well as the folk tune that inspired George Gershwin’s “Summertime”, all of which further brightened an already wonderful night.

Many thanks to Vineyard Community for their ongoing support, to the RWinR Committee for organising the event, and to all our volunteers for their efforts in welcoming refugees.

We hope you enjoyed the evening as much as we did and that you remain as eager to help us in the years to come.